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Le Contre les géomètres de Sextus Empiricus: sources, cible, structure

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In this paper, we examine Sextus Empiricus' treatise Against the geometers. We first set this treatise in the overall context of the sceptic's polemics against the liberal arts. After a discussion of Sextus' attitude to the quadrivium, we discuss the structure, the sources and the target of the Against the geometers. It appears that Euclid is not Sextus' source, and neither he, nor the professional geometers, seem to be Sextus' main targets. Of course, Sextus never really makes clear his precise target, but his attacks are rather directed against geometry as a means of modelling the physical world, thus ruining the support geometry was intended to bring to the physical part of dogmatic philosophy.

Affiliations: 1: Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Faculté de philosophie et lettres, avenue FD Roosevelt 50, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium, Email:; 2: Centre Louis Gernet, 2 Rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris, France, Email:


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